Five educators are finalists for Teacher of the Year

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Five classroom teachers have been named as finalists for Beaufort County’s 2016-17 District Teacher of the Year.

The finalists are Lawrence Anderson, a fourth-grade math teacher at Mossy Oaks Elementary; Bebe Cifaldi, a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Hilton Head Elementary School for the Creative Arts; Kelly Goudy, a second-grade teacher at Robert Smalls International Academy; Elizabeth MacMurray, a ninth-grade English language arts teacher at Hilton Head Island High; and Jennifer McKenzie, a media arts and social studies teacher at Beaufort Middle School.

Superintendent Jeff Moss announced the five selections before an audience of more than 1,000 educators at the opening session of Summer Institute 2016, the district’s annual summer professional development conference.

This year’s conference sessions are being held at Bluffton High School and H.E. McCracken Middle School.

“These are five outstanding classroom professionals, and any one of them would be an excellent representative for the Beaufort County School District’s teachers,” Moss said.

The District Teacher of the Year will be announced Sept. 16 at an awards breakfast.

Becoming District Teacher of the Year is a three-step process that began when school-level teachers of the year were selected in April. Those wishing to compete for District Teacher of the Year submitted detailed applications in June.

In the second step, a selection committee consisting of parents, former educators and community leaders from across Beaufort County reviewed the applications and rated them using a numerical scoring system. The five highest-scoring applicants were named as finalists.

In the next step, the five finalists will be interviewed by a separate review committee, again composed of judges from across the county. The judges will begin by reviewing a video of each teacher doing a classroom lesson. They will then score candidates based on how well they respond to questions about their teaching methods as shown in the video, as well as how they respond to questions about current education issues. After those interviews, the panel will select a District Teacher of the Year to represent Beaufort County’s classroom professionals.

The current Teacher of the Year is Beaufort Elementary School teacher Arecely Johnson.

Top photo from left: Jennifer McKenzie, Kelly Goudy, Lawrence Anderson, Elizabeth MacMurray and Bebe Cifaldi.